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True North to debut new jerseys featuring logos designed by RRC grad

January 16, 2020

The Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose will take to the ice this weekend in jerseys bearing Indigenous-inspired logos designed by a Red River College graduate.

Leticia Spence, who completed RRC’s Graphic Design program last year, created the logos while on a work placement with True North Sports + Entertainment.

They’ll be featured on warm-up jerseys worn by the Jets during their pre-game skate on Friday, Jan. 17, and on game jerseys worn by the Moose on Saturday, Jan. 18. Friday’s game coincides with the second annual Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC) Night hosted by the Jets, and Saturday’s game with the Moose’s Follow Your Dreams Day.

Leticia Spence (centre) with WASAC participants“It’s pretty surreal to me,” Spence told CBC News last week, when the teams’ new gear was unveiled at the Neeginan Centre as part of the NHL’s “This Is Hockey” initiative, which aims to promote diversity and inclusiveness in hockey.

When Spence first designed the logos, she wanted to avoid resorting to feathers or circles with four points, symbols she felt were overused in representing Indigenous culture. Instead, she reviewed artifacts, researched the work of modern Indigenous artists, and turned to members of her family and home community — Pimicikamak First Nation — for inspiration.

“Each tribe has a visual language to express their views of the world,” she said at the time. “I wanted to show that we’re united by including motifs, symbols and patterns from many different Indigenous cultures and tribes in the logos.”

Funds raised from last year’s WASAC Night and Follow Your Dream Day went to support WASAC events taking place next month, when 60 students from northern First Nations will take part in a weekend of activities in Winnipeg, including a tour of culturally significant locations and a group skate with Indigenous role models such as Olympian Brigette Lacquette.

When the new logos were first unveiled last year, WASAC co-founder Kevin Chief said his initial response was amazement and pride.

“I felt proud of being Indigenous, proud of the mentorship and support from RRC, proud of the partnership between Leticia and the team at True North, and proud to be able to showcase her work on this scale,” he said.

Inset photo credit: Gary Solilak, CBC News Winnipeg

Price Family Foundation pledges $525,000 in student awards to RRC

November 27, 2019

Students in Red River College’s Engineering Technology programs now have the opportunity to earn life-changing scholarships, thanks to the generosity of local philanthropists Dr. Gerry and Barb Price.

Well-known for their altruism, the couple will donate $525,000 to RRC over the next five years. Their scholarships will reward high-achieving students by providing them with the financial support they need to minimize time spent in part-time jobs to pay for tuition, rent and other living costs.

The first award recipients will be recognized tonight at RRC’s Technology Awards dinner.

“If you can barely keep food on the table and have a part-time job just to survive, you might not be able to put the best effort into school,” says Dr. Gerry Price (shown above, second from right), chairman and CEO of the Price group of companies.

“High-achieving students need to put in long hours, but if you’re broke, you’re kind of in trouble because you need to eat and sleep too. We want these scholarships to provide more time for hardworking students to focus on their studies so they can end up being the best they can be.”

Through the Price Family Foundation, Gerry and Barb Price have been generous supporters of education, arts and culture, and health care. They already fund about 200 scholarships each year, with a focus on those who don’t always have champions — children, single mothers and families in distress. With today’s announcement, they’ll be supporting an additional 30 to 60 students each year.

“This is significant,” says Andrew Roncin, an instructor in RRC’s Electrical Engineering Technology program. “Up until now, our programs haven’t had as many available scholarships — but with this gift, about 10 per cent of our Electrical Engineering Technology students can receive some support each year.”

The Price Scholarships will be offered to students who are enrolled full-time in Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Instrumentation and Control Engineering, and Manufacturing CAD, and have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.0 after their first year. Read More →

Ready, set, hire: Recruitment event connects industry with tomorrow’s business leaders

November 12, 2019

A bell rings, piercing the silence. In the South Gym at Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, a nervous group of well-dressed students rise from their chairs and rustle towards a large group of tables — where their futures may await.

Seated at each table are recruiters from leading Manitoba companies, hoping to scope out RRC’s best and brightest at the sixth annual First Impressions Recruitment Event.

Over the next four hours, more than 500 interviews with 114 students take place here, each no more than 12 minutes long.

“That’s not a lot of time to wow, but our students always come prepared to impress,” says Kirk Johnson, RRC’s Dean of Business and Applied Art and Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

“We’re known for the calibre of our job-ready candidates, which is why so many employers come back here year after year.”

“(First Impressions) is probably the most successful recruiting event we have all year,” says Aida Rodrigues, a senior talent acquisition partner for CIBC, one of the companies attending the event.

“The students we speak with are all well-prepared for industry. The faculty here has lots to do with it. People who’ve worked in banking and finance know how to prepare students for success in positions like the ones we’re hiring for.”

First Impressions is open to all students in RRC’s Applied Accounting, Business Administration, and Commerce Industry Sales and Marketing programs. The companies they meet are all looking to fill paid, full- and part-time, entry-level/trainee positions and higher. Read More →

College feeds local economy with unveiling of new culinary research kitchen

November 7, 2019

Manitoba’s vital agriculture and food industry is getting another boost with today’s grand opening of Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen.

The new research facility brings food science, culinary arts and industry together on the eleventh floor of RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The kitchen supports industry growth through new product development and by providing culinary students with food science skills required by this crucial economic sector.

“The Prairie Research Kitchen supports the growth of our ever-important agriculture and food industry, and helps build on Manitoba’s protein advantage, which is one of our strategic priorities,” says Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler (shown above, at right, with interim RRC President Darin Brecht).

“The Province of Manitoba is pleased to have provided $1 million from Research Manitoba towards the construction of the research kitchen, as culinary research is an area of tremendous opportunity. It’s exciting to see the College’s research chefs put their skills and expertise to work creating food products that are not only good for our health, but are also good for Manitoba’s economy.”

Culinary instructor plating food, Prairie Research Kitchen

Food and feed processing is the largest manufacturing sub-industry in Manitoba, accounting for 26 per cent of manufacturing sales in 2018. Many of the companies working in this area are SMEs, and this is where the Prairie Research Kitchen comes in — working directly with small and medium-sized operations to help bring new ideas and products to life. Read More →

RRC’s staff team pulls out a win for United Way Winnipeg

September 19, 2019

Earlier this month, Red River College staff and students rolled up their sleeves for United Way Winnipeg’s 16th annual Plane Pull — in which RRC’s staff team logged the fastest time for the Lockheed C-130 Hercules pull.

The team of employees — made up of administrative staff, educational assistants, instructors, and College leaders — pulled the plane 20 feet in 11.12 seconds. The RRC Stevenson Campus student team pulled the Boeing 727 the same distance in 16.45 seconds, for a sixth place finish.

“I was happy to be part of a great team from Red River College” says Joan Machendagoos, administrative assistant for Skilled Trades and Technologies at RRC. “This gave us the opportunity to meet staff that we only see in emails, and to bond as a team. Giving back to the community was a bonus.”

RRC's staff team pulling planeRRC’s Stevenson Campus was once again the proud facility sponsor, providing the campus hangar and volunteers for the fundraising event, which launched the 2019-20 United Way Annual Giving Campaign. This year, the organization announced it’s seeking a goal of $21.6 million for more than 100 agency partners, all of which benefit Winnipeg residents.

The Stevenson Campus — a 55,000-square foot training facility, complete with aircraft hangar — is home to RRC’s aviation and aerospace programs, making it the ideal location for the Plane Pull to take place each year.

“Next year we hope to have a few more teams so we can not only be the top team for the best pull time, but also have the highest fundraising teams,” says Machendagoos.

More than 80 teams participated in the 2019 Plane Pull, raising more than $88,000 towards United Way’s campaign goal.

Apprenticeship bricklayer to represent Canada at WorldSkills Competition in Russia

July 31, 2019

What started as a summer job for 22-year-old Antonio Neufeld has turned into two years of travel, mentorship and fierce competition.

The Red River College Apprenticeship student will represent Canada this month in the bricklaying category of the 2019 WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia, where he’ll face off against 29 competitors from around the world.

“It all started when I came to the College for Level 1 (of the Apprenticeship Manitoba program),” Neufeld says. “I competed in the Skills Manitoba provincial competition here and it’s gone on from there.”

After taking the top spot at provincials, Neufeld earned the gold medal at the 2018 Skills Canada National Competition in Edmonton. He travelled to Halifax, Montebello and Ottawa for teambuilding and training, and to Australia with 13 other WorldSkills Team Canada prospects for a mock competition.

Antonio Neufeld, RRC masonry lab“It’s all been a great experience. Going to Australia helped because you got to see where the other competitors are at in their skill and get a feel for what the competition will actually be like,” he says.

Neufeld has been training with his instructor, Brian Gebhardt, every day for the last two weeks, with a focus on learning how to think on his feet.

“Antonio is the best man in Canada in his age category,” Gebhardt says. “His basic skills are very good, so what he needs to do is figure out how to approach and attack the situation, and use time management to complete the task. The projects they come up with at the WorldSkills Competition are very ornate in nature and require a lot of experience.” Read More →

College opens doors to new state-of-the-art Smart Factory

June 28, 2019

Today, with the help of collaborative robots Baxter, Sawyer and UR10, Red River College officially opened the doors to its brand new Smart Factory, a state-of-the-art learning facility and applied research space that will directly support Manitoba’s growing aerospace and manufacturing industries, and RRC’s applied research initiatives.

“Red River College has always been at the forefront of emerging technologies. The opening of the Smart Factory ensures that our students are well-equipped to face the challenges that the future workforce may hold, and to thrive in ever-changing environments,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, at right).

“These expansions have significant impacts in our community and beyond, as we provide unparalleled access to cutting-edge resources for our partners in the aerospace and manufacturing industries.”

Located inside RRC’s new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, the Smart Factory is an experiential learning facility and technology demonstration site. It combines emerging technologies in metals additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics and autonomous factory vehicles, flexible robotic work cells, industrial automation, high-speed 3D laser metrology, industrial networking, and many more.

The new facility will enhance learning at RRC by allowing students to experience and work in factory settings. It will also provide Manitoba companies with access to state-of-the-art equipment, research and innovation expertise, and faculty and students — in order to evaluate, develop, demonstrate and implement new and emerging technologies.

The Smart Factory is the result of a $10-million investment — previously announced in 2017 — by the federal government through Western Economic Diversification Canada. In addition to supporting the development of the Smart Factory, this funding also supports the Phase 3 expansion of RRC’s Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT), located at StandardAero in Winnipeg. Read More →

No cutting corners: Apprenticeship Carpenters showcase skills at annual competition

June 20, 2019

It was a race against the clock, but the contestants who took their time fared best at Red River College’s annual Carpentry Competition.  

The 25th edition of the contest took place June 7 and 8 in the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus. 

This year’s event featured nine graduates of the College’s Level 4 Carpenter Apprenticeship program, each battling to be the best builder. On day one, the competing carpenters wrote an extensive exam worth 30 per cent of the challenge. Day two of the competition saw contestants tasked with building an elaborate “hug bench” with limited time and materials. 

Alex Mackenzie, of PBR Construction in Niverville, Man., was named the competition’s top carpenter, while Walker Enns and Caleb Gossen finished second and third, respectively. 

“A couple guys went right to the last minute. Actually, the last two guys that finished at the last minute, literally, they placed first and second,” says Jeff Martens, the core instructor of the Level 4 Carpentry Apprenticeship program. 

“It’s amazing, the attention to detail. And of course, detail takes time. They used every second that they had.”

Mackenzie (shown above) won a $1,500 shopping spree courtesy of Bosch, while second and third prize were worth $1,400 and $1,000, respectively. The six other contestants all went home with $500 worth of portable power tools and accessories.  Read More →

Childhood Education, Construction Management grads earn Lt.-Gov.’s medals at Convocation

June 14, 2019

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, who received their awards as part of our 2019 Spring Convocation ceremonies on June 4 and 5.

Each year, up to four medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

Adele Petri, Spring ConvocationAdele Petri — Early Childhood Education Workplace

Adele Petri helps kids to be the best they can be.

A graduate of RRC’s Early Childhood Education Workplace program, Petri is a supervisor at Starting Blocks day care centre in Stonewall. In 2015, she co-founded the Stonewall support group Families for Autism Awareness & Support.

In 2014, Petri’s son Tanner was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder.

“When you’re a parent of a child that’s diagnosed with autism, you really aren’t given any direction. You really have to be an advocate for your child,” says Petri, 47.

“There wasn’t a local support group here in town, so that would mean parents would have to travel to the city. Parents are already tired, so we wanted to provide a safe place where they can come.”

Petri says the support group allows families to compare notes on how best to navigate the vast spectrum of autism information and services.

“It goes both ways. I see what the support does for other families and I’m also getting support from them,” she says.

As an early childhood educator, Petri believes her career goes way beyond babysitting.

“You’re there to bring out the best in children and foster all the things children need to flourish,” she says.

Allison Enns, Spring ConvocationAllison Enns — Construction Management

Don’t tell Allison Enns she can’t do something.

After she was told in university to drop every course that had “reading, writing and numbers” because of her learning disabilities, Enns did what anybody would do: she enrolled in the Civil Engineering Program at Red River College.

Years later, Enns is still putting it to her naysayers, having graduated from RRC’s Construction Management program. She is currently working as a site coordinator at Akman Construction.

“I applied to engineering at Red River kind of out of spite, and to prove to them and myself that my learning disabilities don’t define me,” says Enns, 24.

“The school helped me understand my learning disabilities. My GPA skyrocketed from university to Red River because I finally understood how my brain works.”

Enns, who has dyslexia, dyscalculia and ADHD, spoke at RRC’s recent REDx Speaker Series about her struggles and successes with learning disabilities. She was also a member of an RRC advisory group where she helped to create guidelines on how presenters should format workshops so that they’re accessible to everyone.

“Whatever limitations people put on you, your only real limitation is yourself,” she says. “You can be you to get where you want to be.”

Honorary Diploma recipient celebrates lifelong link to RRC

June 5, 2019

Marilyn Kenny, portraitFamilies, friends and guests of Red River College will gather this week to watch their loved ones cross the stage and accept their degrees, diplomas and certificates — signaling the completion of their academic journey as students.

As these 2,000 new grads look ahead to their careers, the College looks back on its history, and proudly announces former board member Marilyn Kenny as this year’s Honorary Diploma recipient.

“Marilyn Kenny has truly demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Red River College, and to learning,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“From her dedication to women’s employment initiatives to her work with the development of language training, Marilyn has been working shoulder-to-shoulder with the College for her entire career, and we are honoured to recognize her achievements.”

Kenny will receive her Honorary Diploma in Community Development/Community Economic Development. She now joins the ranks of fellow recipients such as Gail Asper, Ray St. Germain and Ace Burpee — all of whom have demonstrated high standards of excellence in their personal and professional achievements, and whose local, national and international accomplishments qualify them for such a recognition.

“I was honoured and overwhelmed when I learned that I had received the award — I think it was the first time anyone at the College has ever heard me speechless,” says Kenny. “When I look at where my career has taken me, Red River College has always been a part of it in some way or another — and I guess I’ve always been a part of Red River.”

Kenny says her career really began when she tried to help a little girl who’d been in and out of difficult situations and hospitalizations, but was unsuccessful because she didn’t have the proper credentials. She was later devastated to learn the girl had passed away.

Around the same time, she learned of RRC’s Social Welfare Services program, which her husband and family encouraged her to apply for.

“At the time I was driving in from Ashern in the evenings for my classes, but it felt like this was what I was meant to do. Red River College put the wind beneath my wings and gave me what I needed to keep going.” Read More →